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Pelican Technical Article:

Air Filter Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

20 minutes20 mins

Tab:

$20

Talent:

*

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, 6mm nut driver

Applicable Models:

BMW 323Ci Coupe/Conv (1999-00)
BMW 323i Sedan/Wagon (1999-00)
BMW 325Ci Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW 325i/xi Sedan/Wagon (2001-06)

Parts Required:

Engine air filter

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine.

Performance Gain:

Achieve highest possible gas mileage

Complementary Modification:

Replace dry rotted or cracked intake air ducts.

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the air filter on most BMW E46 models.

Replace the air filter once a year or more frequently if you drive in a dusty area. I suggest checking each time you change your engine oil, assuming you are changing your oil every 5,000 miles. It's easy to remove and inspect; plus replacing it early will help you maintain good fuel economy.

The intake air ducts connecting the mass air flow sensor to the throttle housing have the tendency to crack and break over time.
Figure 1

The intake air ducts connecting the mass air flow sensor to the throttle housing have the tendency to crack and break over time. When replacing your air filter, inspect the intake air ducts for dry rot, cracks, or broken sections (green arrow). If you find any signs of wear, replace the air duct. This will save you from an unwanted check engine light in the future. The photo shows a duct removed from the vehicle with a large crack. This is the duct that runs from the mass air flow meter to the coupler that connects to the lower intake air duct.

While working at the air filter housing, loosen the air flow meter clamp (green arrow).
Figure 2

While working at the air filter housing, loosen the air flow meter clamp (green arrow). You can use a flathead screwdriver or a 6mm nut driver.

Then disconnect the duct from air flow meter (yellow arrow).
Figure 3

Then disconnect the duct from air flow meter (yellow arrow).

While working at the air filter housing, disconnect the air flow meter electrical connector (yellow arrow).
Figure 4

While working at the air filter housing, disconnect the air flow meter electrical connector (yellow arrow).

Next, unclip the air filter housing retainers.
Figure 5

Next, unclip the air filter housing retainers. There are a total of 5 retaining clips (green arrows).

Lift the top of the air filter housing up and remove from the vehicle.
Figure 6

Lift the top of the air filter housing up and remove from the vehicle.

Remove the air filter element from the housing (green arrow).
Figure 7

Remove the air filter element from the housing (green arrow).

Clean any debris from air filter housing.
Figure 8

Clean any debris from air filter housing. You can do this using a lint-free rag or a vacuum. I prefer to vacuum it out.

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Page last updated: Tue 6/27/2017 02:22:08 AM